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Obama 10, Barack Obama 5, Obama Administration 4, Michele Bock 3, Us 3, United States 3, Sarah Palin 2, U.s. 2, Glenn Beck 2, Newt Gingrich 2, John Kennedy 2, Franklin Roosevelt 2, Michelle Bachmann 1, Wyoming 1, California 1, Thomas Paine 1, Thain 1, George Finn 1, Plush Franklin Roosevelt 1, Michelle Botwin 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Education.  
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    February 12, 2011
    7:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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>> a but somebody killed all the electricity in the store while i was speaking. i know what do dispirited to the hippies but nobody knew where the fuse box was. [laughter] so i had told the audience for 45 minutes until they found out how to put it back on. [laughter] item how 45 minutes worth of clean jokes. [laughter] it was rough so i am glad to see that we are okay. so far. thank you for coming.
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i wrote this book called "kabuki democracy" the system vs. barack obama" originally when i talked about this book in washington i thought i may have to explain no, i do not think obama lurched too far to the left and has to be brought back to the right. that is the narrative. where was i? here is the thing. barack obama invited me to dinner in 2005 and i really did not have a strong opinion of the guy going in. i did not want to this is speech in 2004 i was playing poker that night.
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because i never watch a convention because it is either great and depress he is not the nominee like it would have been a -- would have been. so it did not matter. you might as well have fun. i did not see it but i wind had dinner completely cold. i heard nice things but nothing specific. i was blown away by his boys, self-confidence, and good humor and strong progressive orientation and remember leaving the restaurant walking around a neighborhood in washington d.c. may be thinking my daughter who at the time was
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seven, would one day be able to vote for this man in the presidential election. i never imagined anything like his candidacy of the next three years. that was literally beyond anything i could dream of at that point*. as we all know, barack obama is president of the united states and he ran a very powerful campaign that was quite specific in terms of the direction he wanted to take the country and what he wanted to implement and the campaign was not empty rhetoric to be the last by standing by returning the country around and not because he was incompetent or corrupt he had a very
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corrupted ministration but because the ideological obsession of the bush to administration and what two some degree the clinton administration which has been forced to work within those parameters but i think the country is so far down the road lowered down this dangerous road, a fundamental correction was needed and this was understood by people who voted for him. it just wasn't a matter i like this guy or the other guy, or i don't like this sarah palin woman who was funny and kind of cute but terrifying. here was a program that we are voting for that means fundamental change for the country. what is more as we all remember he was elected with
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a super majority. for the first time in recent memory we have the equivalent of the parliamentary election. the majority can enact with it is selected to do and then take responsibility for it. not the system that we have but yet to again come as we all know it did not work out that way. we got some movement, it would be wrong to pretend that the obama administration does not have they have many accomplishments. but none live up to the campaign.
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it is not easily apparent. why? if you take for example, the most failing example is the financial reform bill. the three examples that i use i spend the most time on in the book is health care care, reform bill, a captain trade bill and the financial reform bill. health care is a very complicated issue in there is awfully powerful interest by teeing on every side and it is very easy to scare people. particularly old people about their health care. and that is one of the reasons nobody has been able to pass it since harry truman first proposed it in the election of 1948. actually it was proposed originally by teddy roosevelt when he ran as a bull moose candidate 1912? yes.
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the first major party candidate and no democrat made much progress until barack obama. by asking to make sacrifices for posterity-- posterity what has posterity ever done for me? and it is very complicated and easy to mislead people and one of the more depressing statistics you will hear all year is your people believe in the reality of man-made global warming in 2009 and 2010 when the evidence was far stronger.
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of the 20 republican and senate candidates who ran for office and 2010, 19 deny the reality. those are problematic issues. but if you take a look at financial reform, the president had the wind at his back with every imaginable respect for the we went through a terrible crisis that cost thousands and thousands of jobs, hundreds of thousands of people their homes, a lot of people. the stock market have lost roughly one-third of its value, the housing bobble alone accounted for 90% of gdp. may face this enormous crisis and the cause was pretty clear with irresponsible behavior of the banking sector but
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compared to a lot of things the fact they played with the rules to understand themselves to be gambling with the house of money and when you gamble with a house of money, you gamble. it is fun. you don't have to worry about losing. not only were the culprits clear and the country understood to they were, but the remedies were also clear like breaking up the big banks, capping executive pay, making sure they did not use their own money when they gambled and mix it up with the money they were holding and these were very simple things relative to understand you did not need to demagogue them. you would have reformed the
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system in such a way they would be eliminated so we would not experience the use these types of an expression of they could not do it. the financial reform bill, it is not that it is worse than it was before, it is better but it to make it safe for individual investors to make sure we don't bailout that aig or citigroup lowered jpmorgan next time was wrong. like i said, not that i fell in love with barack obama but seduced. maybe i was there maybe i was sent but i think you will agree it is hard to imagine anyone who is more progressive or intelligent and has a better handle van
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barack obama been president any time soon. he has given his background will the cultural, his experiences, the background of not only being harvard law editor bed a community organizer, it is a miracle he got elected president particularly when you consider his name. i began to try to figure out why when you have the circumstances in your favor, when the system was supposed to work to make good on the promises not only his campaign may but progressives have been working towards decades, why couldn't this is done deliver? why did the modern republican governance?
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financing is it is not simple. i don't know if you are like me in this respect, i have trouble watching real news shows. they make me want to plunge someone. they make me crazy and angry at the same time. i do watch jon stewart and stephen colbert. [laughter] i am fine with that. that is about all i can stand before my blood starts to boil. the problem that i have with stewart and colbert is that they've march 4 sanity a lot of them are in congress, the problem i have is one thing
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after another and lookout crazy this is. look how ridiculous this is it is not they're job but they don't the dust to think about all of these things together. you could fix any one and do so have all of the other problems they will do a show about the next night and all of these are significant roadblocks to politics in our country. i was trying to do two things. we have to separate genesee's, the plural of genesis. we tried to explain why this totally excellent guy who somehow got to be president of the united states wins the supermajority of two houses could not make good on his promises. and to explain all of the significant roadblocks in the system that answers the
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question, not just focus on the one at the moment or there was a crisis in the gulf of mexico so the problem is we don't do a good job to regulate but there is a million like that waiting to happen. in part because we just experienced the ideological obsessed and a thoroughly corrupt political and ministration in the history of the country. i looked at these three legislative issues and try to figure out what is the roadblock that prevented the obama presidency to make good on the canada see? it is not sure been administration did a lot of things wrong.
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we have our own views and share a lot of use but off the top of my head i don't understand why he did not try to effect more rhetorically inspiring presidency like john kennedy your rose about or ronald reagan did. he had that opportunity and the talent and chose not to do it. and there were other mistakes than double the that he made but the problem with the inability to pass the legislation was not a strategic bears are tactical errors and did not relate necessarily to the failure of the communications job although there was a failure of the communications job but fundamental roadblocks that would face any progress the president to enact the
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promises that obama's made during the campaign. what are they? roughly speaking, i don't think most people understand how much more how strongly they narrow the options of the president to make this a more progressive country. obvious if you think of the oil spill what terrible shape the bush should ministrations left the country. we have two wars going to years of complete environmental mismanagement and the administration did not believe in science and in many respects remembered james hansen the head of nasa was shot down by a guy who had not finished college
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and that is the way things work in the bush demonstration but the enormous overhang of badly managed governance that needed to be avoided to avoid catastrophe and you could not do it all at once as evidenced by the catastrophe we still have not seen but can expect in the future. second, we have the antiquated political system of particularly in regards to the senate. so that a very small minority can easily frustrate the will of the majority and if you're part of the republican party you have every incentive to do so because the republicans only exercise power as a united group. they have 40 votes and none of those mattered unless they have all 40 said they
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were able to keep themselves united so they could have the power and did so specifically in the service to see the obama program failed. democrats like to see governance work and believe in the governance. they are temperamentally unsuited to obstructionists but republicans are the opposite. number one, they're much more interested in power for the power sake and number two to see that the conservative ideology failed they had every incentive to throw every wrench that they could and they did. so given that they were fed up in the senate in july takes one sadr to blood of hold on a bill to frustrate the will of all 99 and of
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course, you don't need to actually have a filibuster any more just threaten one and it works just like it. you can do that on every single bill which the republicans did and the into filibuster every single bill until they got to a couple of them got what they wanted then frequently they would filibuster and occasion it was passed but show enormous concessions on the part of the president but just so happens a constitution is set up a few live in california you have one 12th of the senate and if you live in wyoming. but yet the most underpopulated states in america are also the most conservative so over and over those 40 republican senators to represented 32% of the population could
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frustrate the will of the majority. there was nothing obama's could do about it. i work at the nation may be the most conservative person but people laugh when i say that but it is true. there were people on my left who would criticize to say they should just demand the democrats pass health care with but public option were passed a carbon tax but yet there is no way for a president to do that anymore. presidents have no power over individual senators are congressmen because they raise their own money. unfortunately the tea party movement on the right which is threatened republican politicians don't vote the
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way they want them too and will run primaries against them and will beat them as a result. if there were no tea party is the senate would be in the republican hands today but nothing like that on the left. and the fact nobody made no ways the obama administration shut them down right away. no question at all coming from the other side of the pressure came from one side. the most powerful form of pressure you could talk about this all might is the power of money not just corporations pay for the electoral campaign of our senators and congressmen although that is a pretty powerful incentive but they controlled the entire culture.
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they defined the terms of the debate and operate in such a way that the people who work on the committee's see themselves as training for the job working in the private sector. and and there is no shame at all in switching sides. you would think in a fixed battle how we will regulate the banking sector, there would be some shame in the chairman of the house banking committee going to goldman sachs in the middle of the debate. they switched sides. while he was writing the legislation but yet there is no shame. doing it a few weeks earlier than he should of, but the power of money is so
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pervasive and the ideology is so powerful, that there's almost nobody on the other side. one thing that shocked me, i was under the oppression when obama become president because of the financial crisis and the obvious malfeasance, the banking industry in the particular had discredited himself for what franklin roosevelt did and in fact, that was not the case at all. and playing a very little role in the way the laws were written. senator durbin said frankly they own the place they owned it before the crisis and after the crisis. if you think about it, a
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long time ago the media was paying attention to the rules of the financial regulation bill. skate -- they need to define the rules to what actual practices are allowed because particularly in the financial business they can change the accounting practices. , but there are 1200 different rules. i am pulling them out of the air. [laughter] but there are 1200 different rules that have to be written on that basis and they are all written by the lobbyists today. the president moved on and the staff of the congressmen are overworked and looking
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forward to the next job with the people of them they are breaking the rules. although we saw of victory a lot of those are likely to be taken away in the fine print. finally, and that is has about important as the power of money is the transformation of our media. it is hard for me to boil it down to just talking points. but broadly speaking, we face two simultaneous crisis and one is the traditional media that was flawed contained a great deal of useful information which could be repurchased and the way the country operated is collapsing for a business
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model but at the same time there is wartime coming into our lives but contains less and less substance therefore people are able to get away with a lot more. a lot more hot air and a lot less life being shown on the dark side of the politics. what used to be that people were afraid to get away with in the past things like respectable companies who would have been afraid to give money to the u.s. chamber of commerce to attack politicians they pretended to admirer lowered to undermine the environmental causes, they
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can do that now. there is not the manpower to keep the effective watchdog. isolate those people but not only is it harder to do but harder to be heard. that is crisis #1. crisis number two is and then media universe of our system of our planet, listening to brian green who got me confused with the new concepts. but anyway the most obvious manifestation is fox news is not a news organization. it is a political organization. and that masquerades as a news organization. is no shame there is history a presidential line quash it
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is not like anybody felt the need to apologize. and then it is okay. that is how they see it is entirely operational. franklin roosevelt lied a lot. in a good cause to get the united states when did johnson and my lot with vietnam's and today we are critical but we admire rose a bell from world war ii but they both live. and we have a first amendment of checks and balances because they know we cannot trust the people in power.
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fox news operates as the watchdog and they live. they lie all the time. they make things up and slander their opponents and work hand in glove with politicians from political organizations and make no apology for it and do not pretend they just call themselves a news organization and put up a news show but the rest of it is obvious. they sponsor tea party rallies and raise money for candidates. every potential republican candidate with the exception of mitt romney who was not in office right now is on the payroll of fox news. media matters added up what it costs them that was $60 million of free air time.
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not really for them because they are working with the service of the cause of fox news. if roger ailes does not like what they are doing, they would be fired. they have to sing his song. fox news makes no attempt to be fair, i don't mind by yes but i do believe in fairness and balance i wish those words were not stolen by me from rupert murdoch. fox news it does to damaging things to our political system. it makes everything malleable and negotiable. we spent a lot of time arguing whether or not barack obama was proposing death panels and 24 percent of republicans believe he is a model and a higher
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percentage say he may not be a muslim but looking to turn denied the states into a muslim republic. would love to know what that 10 percent of people who don't. [laughter] a significantly smaller percentage of people who believe global warming is a man-made phenomenon all the during this period the evidence increased there is the enormous effect of a bias quick her stop fox news alone made $500 million a profit and cn end loses money.
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also fox news is where the audience is. cnn sponsors of debate with the tea party and had them broadcasting. look at michele bock men. she gave a speech to weeks ago where she applauded the u.s. constitution for ending slavery. i am not making this up. [laughter] remember the glenn beck rally on the mall? pbs hired some helicopters to give the crowd estimate there was 87,000 people that was the honest estimate between 80 and 100. michelle bachmann gets up on the stage and says don't let anybody tell you that there
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is under 1 million people here. don't let anybody tell you. closing your years and screaming. excuse me reality is offer here. that is to the tea party fix and that is to see and then chose to broadcast without interference or sense of obligation to correct the lives where the statements that are made all the time. when you think from the perspective of the united states has a complicated agenda, it is hard to pass health care in this country because we have to write a bill hundreds and hundreds of pages and it is easy to manipulate and it is really, really hard to do with the problems of global warming because there are so many economic trade-offs and
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financial regulation is incredible. with the pri is some at the time the distortion and manipulation to be blown up buy this operation with the irresponsible movement and the political party that is dedicated to undermine the president it comes near impossible to pull the thing off. and is a collapse of standards who, from the desperation coming from the financial underpinnings but
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also the success of fox news. i will stop in a minute because i feel that i have went on plenty but of the past 2009, think about newt gingrich, the leader of a failed rebellion and have a a heart attack about getting a blow job and his current affairs and a first wife had to go on welfare after he left her to get money from the church because he was a deadbeat dad then he went crazy after that. he said thain is like he endorsed negative to sues the notion that barack obama is really leading the country on the basis of, i don't know, some leader from
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ideology, the craziest nonsense imaginable that anybody who says these things, they should be handing out pieces of paper on the street from the messages they get from facebook aliens. they shouldn't be on television. [laughter] new ticking rich was the most secret leave -- frequently but guest 2009 no official position as a kind and he used to be the speaker of the house. nancy pelosi was not on the the press in 2009. if you add up the ax speakers of the house besides newt gingrich who were invited on and "meet the press" after being
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speaker does not increase the number at all. the only ex speaker at to be invited is nuking bridge the single most invited guest on me to the press in 2009 and he is crazy. he says things about our president that no fourth grader should believe. but yet to it is in this atmosphere that the president has passed a very dim days difficult and complicated demanding legislation. all four of these problems are very serious they are structural and cannot be solved by the president himself even if we had a better communications job or had done a few things more smartly. they engaged citizenry and require liberal political movements that are better
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organized and smarter and more disciplined than the one that we have. we deserve a break for taking our eye off the ball after we elected barack obama president. it was very exciting to elect him particularly after the four relived under eight years under bush and cheney but it is not enough is the beginning and not the end. i take some comfort it is a little overly optimistic but some comfort in the fact that once roosevelt was elected as a conservative democrat became the most successful president perhaps ever by 1936. in part as a response to economic circumstance and to the social movement that was being pushed and learning process by like to think it is possible for the second and obama administration to
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take on what the second roosevelt administration to a kind of things and not moving that way and they won't unless everybody buys and read my book. [laughter] thank you very much. [applause] >> i would like to remind everybody that "kabuki democracy" is available for sale in the bookstore bring it back to this room for the signing after the ku and a period. we have 15 minutes 4q and a please keep comments and questions brief. here we go. >> first thing to mr. alterman for a great talk but roosevelt was aided by a the media of the day or most of them and two-thirds of
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the nation's newspapers the popular demagogues were against him at that point* but he still triumphed. in some ways maybe the media isn't the problem at least on economic issues of big government but that we are a conservative country of those who go and active perhaps you put too much emphasis on the media? >> dr. candy and i appreciate your question but you came late to class. [laughter] there was much discussion of related points before i got to the media aspect but i will grant the point* that the press does have the additional problem that i did not get a chance to mention that american ideology is not have anti-government there is a
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libertarian streak that runs the left and the right and some of the most inspiring statements are from people like thomas paine and ever send and so forth. government that governs best governs least. [laughter] is quote correct and the book. [laughter] the president needs to find the alternate mythology and it leads me again to my most significant criticism of this president that he has forgone the bully pulpit. this week if you watch it hbo have the opportunity to see john kennedy inaugural address as well as a member of press conferences that he gave.
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i wrote a book about kennedy there were a lot of problems but one wonderful thing about kennedy was the rhetoric he brought to the country and that inspiration to move people to put their lives in the direction of the ark of justice. barack obama did a wonderful job of that then just topped monday never won and got involved over which ruled was included and that is a terrible mistake. ronald reagan did both and there is no reason obama could not have done both as well. and in tucson the one that brought tears to our eyes is back. that would be terrible to return to that style.
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>> talk about the title of your book and ask if should they not show michele bock meant at all or do they have analysis? >> i don't have a problem with reporting on michelle botwin and -- michele bock men and look at this nincompoop. this visit they are questioning heard to say slavery ending with the constitution anybody ever mentioned the civil war? but to show it as if it weren't the equivalent of the act of state without context for criticism would be irresponsible.
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the book is called "kabuki democracy" and i have been told i am being unfair but it implies the theatrical enactment of democracy. soledad from afar people go through the motions of having a democracy but the actual democracy has been hollowed out and primarily money. >> for the most important comment, i am interested in the mystification and language and went to the glenn beck rally they probably hired consultants the way newt gingrich ast
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with anti-colonial he does not say anti-eight is ask a question like it is very sophisticated and the progressives are not so good at that. i it is want to throw that out there is a problem using the term global warming and after the snowstorm tomorrow they will say he is wrong because it snowed but with the better or more accurate term would be climate chaos i think everybody knows we should use that term. >> you heard it here first. climate chaos. [laughter] >> your talk reminds me of the book triumph of conservatism that takes a look but kirkland's book was somewhat revisionist as a
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reestablishment of the status quo. is that why we have so much problem with the anti-intellectualism is so easy to take advantage with the complexity that we have? >> i will go back and read kirkland spoke again. and the committee for industrial relations controlling the directorship from the documents of american history. >> i take your point* but one reason i wrote the book and i am proud doing it only in a couple hundred pages it is not any one thing we have
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a whole set of problems that create a system that is sporadic and any number of ways the anti-intellectualism is a significant problem particularly when it is so easily manipulated by sarah palin and norris the dumb cable news but it is not the only problem if we solve that problem may still have the problem of the democratic dysfunctidysfuncti on in the senate. i think we need to take a more holistic view. >> i am sure you are aware in virginia the individual mandate was ruled unconstitutional then george finn cent rule the entire thing but now the way the debate has been framed, the legal system it will be determined how it is decided and what you think of the
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legal institutions have to do with the way the laws are passed? >> i will take the opportunity to answer in such a way to know what i am talking about rather than answer your question and then i do not know what i am talking about. you give me the opportunity to say something important i did not get to say. if i have to say what is that the most important single problem we have is the power of money in the political system. that it is a no problem because the supreme court insist on the finding money s speech and corporations as people. they not have a good basis it is very murky as to why that is the case. there is an aside somewhere 100 years ago it was mentioned then build on that
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but no actual decision buy any court that ruled on that but yet as long as corporations are people and money is speech we cannot regulate our politics. so that is a long-term battle we have to fight. in the meantime we need to do something to equalize the power of people versus the power of money. i would strongly urge every progressive person and group to take a look at the power of money with their particular issue because i do think it is possible to make the case we could save taxpayers a fortune of republic the finance our election and would have to pay for these giveaways. it is not that expensive.
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every other democracy does that. nine other allows money to exercise the power that it does in our country and we pay a fortune for it but because it is one step removed, it is ignored. the media does cover the issue of money and politics but don't cover the power when the decisions are being made it is to like it is a battle between nancy pelosi and john boehner as if the insurance industry and pharmaceutical industry are not in the room at the time when they write the legislation. fundamentally one thing could be taken away they cannot talk about any issue of progressive politics without understanding the media context but also understanding the role of money and how it needs to be addressed. >> my question has a lot to
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do with what you just mentioned and understanding money and politics goes a long way to understand the difference between obama's the campaigner who is outstanding and obama's the president who was disappointing. my question is the you have any idea why he didn't use campaign finance reform as antigen dead to implement in his first term? minder standing 2,008 is somehow thanks to his skills he could to circumvent the issue of money and politics because he could reach out to people who would chip been $50. >> that this understanding is mistake and that is what they portrayed themselves when they were relying on
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big donors and the lion's share came from big donors they knew they could out raise mccain two /1 but unwilling to give away the advantage and a president can now raise the challenger so from the standpoint of obama's personal interest he has an interest to supporting campaign finance reform for the election because he will of raise whatever the republicans put up in the presidential race but the rest of the system will be awash with money because we have had campaign finance reform in the past and greeted have a reasonable system in place which has fallen up part because obama often out but it was getting weaker and less and less up to date. i think what obama would say to the broader issue of why he did not make good on his promise to clean up the system and drive the
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lobbyists from the temple is the fact when he got there the system was in crisis losing $80,000 -- 80,000 jobs per month said dow was down 5,000 points. and the confidence was collapsing he did not have the luxury to remake the system like rearranging bed deck chairs on day to 10 at -- on the titanic he had to get the boat going again but then once he did that the opportunity was lost because everyone became in their place so he had met to he wooded met, usually the other thing i paid about the obama administration is the way they make fun of liberals for saying we're disappointed in you we should say i did my best i will keep fighting but
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instead he says it just appreciate all but i have done you professional leftist you make me sick. that is stupid even if you think it is true. but in the case of transforming this system you have a good argument but you have not gone up to what you have done to say now i will go back and fight for what i believed then he will not admit you could be any better way from what they chose to do. i am afraid that opportunity has been lost. for good reasons but also the fact he cannot do everything at once. >> i just want to follow up on what you just said. you said you had a personal interaction and were impressed with his idea is
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fitting into the progressive agenda but then those of us that believe in a progressive agenda have been left disappointed. but then we want to present the idea that he was very much fighting and coming up against the whole system that we know is and place that will discourage the agenda the way we want to present it and the way many people feel that it needs to be acknowledged. my hope is that he understands all the things that you understand and the progressives understand how the system works and how it will be dealt with and that he has a plan in terms of dealing with the obstruction he will come up against in terms of delivering that we really help from his
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campaign he could deliver and whether or not there should be some hope ultimately if he gets another term he could deliver? >> a good question. well said. you can be rest assured he understands the things that i understand. and more. [laughter] i feel confident about that. there is a quote that barbaro from one of obama's mentors in chicago who taught obama when you can i get double hog you have to be happy with a ham sandwich and he is very much that ham sandwich man. he is grabbing all the ham sandwiches that he can. in is rather tasteless in the system today. will there be a better sandwich with a taste year
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portions of the pig in the future? [laughter] i have a theory i thought it was gray and wrote three or four times that obama ran a great campaign saying he led unites us and we have to work together and work with republicans and people wanted that. it was great and a good way for a black man to become president especially with us middle name that runs -- is hussain and the last name that rhymes with osama. but then he could have said i tried to do this and be the good guy but they will not play along. now i have to wash the floor with their face. we never got to that point*. he still says he will try harder and harder to be nice and immediate is demanding he reach out further and further to give them the
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entire shoulder not just for arm and he is not taking of the at the second part of this tragedy that i had planned for him so i am genuinely confused. i thought what i thought would he was doing made sense and i told my friends to be cool it is part of a plan. [laughter] maybe it is the eight year plan not the four year plan. [laughter] that is my hopeful note. maybe it is the eighth year plan but it will require a lot of work on the people that plush franklin roosevelt to the left as well. thank you for buying my book one more question. >> it has to be a hopeful question. >> i have a suggestion to release your confusion. as a black person who ha